NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s a major blow to one of New York’s greatest cultural institutions.

The Metropolitan Opera announced Wednesday it has canceled its 2020-21 season due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

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“The inability to perform is taking a tremendous toll on our company,” said Peter Gelb, general manager of the Met. “Our future relies on making strong artistic strides, while collectively reducing our costs until the audience has fully returned.”

In its announcement, the Met said it made the “painful decision” based on advice given from health officials to the Met and Lincoln Center.

“As you can imagine, nothing makes us sadder,” Gelb said.

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The Met said a typical production requires hundreds of artists who need to rehearse and perform in close quarters — and, of course, an audience.

“It was determined that it would not be safe for the Met to resume until a vaccine is widely in use, herd immunity is established, and the wearing of masks and social distancing is no longer a medical requirement,” the Met said in a statement.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

The Met is planning to resume performances for 2021-22 season with Fire Shut Up In My Bones by Terrence Blanchard, the first opera by an African-American composer to be performed at the Met.

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